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Council reveals VJ Day 75 Programme

Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council unveiled its plans to mark the 75th anniversary of Victory over Japan Day at the launch of a special World War II exhibition ‘For Our Freedom and Yours’ at The Old Courthouse Antrim.

Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of County Antrim Mr David McCorkell accompanied the Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey, Councillor Jim Montgomery at this special exhibition now open at The Old Courthouse, until Saturday 22 August before moving to Ballyclare Town Hall where you can visit from Thursday 27 August until Saturday 12 September.
As part of the VJ Day 75 commemorative programme ‘For Our Freedom and Yours’ exhibition is the story of the 1st Polish Armoured Division, a fascinating and moving display which traces the story of this famous army from their formation in Duns in 1942 to their campaigns in Western Europe in 1944 - 1945 under the command of the esteemed General Stanislaw Maczek. Produced by Titanic Honour and Glory Limited, based in Scotland, this exhibition is open Tuesday to Saturday 12noon to 6pm with admission free.
Saturday 15 August marks VJ Day 75, the day the Second World War officially ended. The Council plans to commemorate this historic occasion primarily with an online programme due to some COVID-19 restrictions still in place. There are plans for beacons to be lit on Friday 14 August at The Motte, Antrim Castle Gardens and Macedon Point at Hazelbank Park to symbolize the light of peace after many dark days of conflict. A special laying of wreaths will also take place at the War Memorials at Market Square, Antrim and Lilian Bland Park, Glengormley on Saturday 15 August.
Mossley Mill, Antrim Civic Centre and the clock face of Ballyclare Town Hall will also illuminate red throughout the weekend as part of the commemorations.

The Lord-Lieutenant of County Antrim Mr David McCorkell said “As Her Majesty the Queen’s Representative in County Antrim, it gives me great pleasure to launch Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council’s commemorative programme to mark the 75th Anniversary of VJ Day. To pay tribute to the tens of thousands of service personnel from across the UK and the Commonwealth, who fought and died in the war against the Japanese. We thank them for their service and sacrifice”.

Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey Councillor Jim Montgomery added “I am honoured as Mayor to lead the Borough’s tribute on Saturday 15 August as we commemorate the 75th anniversary of VJ Day and the end of the Second World War. We must never forget the sacrifice of our servicemen and women who afforded us our freedom today.”

Whilst VE Day marked the end of the war in Europe in May 1945, many thousands of armed forces personnel were still fighting a bitter war in the Far East. Fighting in the Asia-Pacific took place from Hawaii to North East India. Britain and the Commonwealth’s principle fighting force, the Fourteenth Army, was one of the most diverse in history, more than 40 languages were spoken and all the world’s major religions represented. Japan surrendered on 15 August 1945, which in effect ended the Second World War.
Nationwide events will pay tribute to the tens of thousands of service personnel from across the UK and the Commonwealth who fought and died in the war against Japan, including all those who were held as prisoners of war by the Japanese.
Full details can be found on our website https://antrimandnewtownabbey.gov.uk/vjday75/